Los Angeles County Focuses on Pay for Success

As the Board of Supervisors in Los Angeles County continues to examine Pay for Success as a means to finance social investment, CSH was pleased to partner with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and a steering committee composed of prominent California-based organizations, to host the “Los Angeles Pay-for-Success Symposium” on Thursday, May 28.

Held at the Music Center in Los Angeles, participants included City, County and State leaders as well as experts from around the country who are currently using Pay for Success financing models to fund crucial projects in their communities.

“Problems are big and budgets are tight. Pay for Success can help government, philanthropy, and private capital invest in what works and deliver better outcomes for the people of Los Angeles County.” 

Don Howard, President & CEO, The James Irvine Foundation

Pay for Success – also known as social impact bonds – is an innovative funding model that drives government resources toward effective social programs that provide results, actually helping people who need the services. PFS gives highly impactful service providers, including nonprofits and charities, access to flexible, reliable, and up-front resources to tackle critical social problems by tapping private funding to cover the up-front costs of social programs. Government plays a role, but only pays for programs and services that can prove they are working.PFS_LA_panel1

In a nutshell, Pay for Success:

  • Leverages new financing to invest in proven, preventative services
  • Focuses on identifying & achieving outcomes
  • Incentivizes performance, limits taxpayer risk

Los Angeles County adopted an official Pay for Success Blueprint in October 2013. Since then, the County has been considering proposals and developing a process for further input. CSH and the Nonprofit Finance Fund organized the Symposium with members of a steering committee to further the dialogue and feedback among local officials.

Deb_opening_PFSLADeb De Santis, President and CEO of CSH, welcomed Symposium attendees by pointing out that Pay for Success “reduces the burden on government by bringing others – philanthropy and corporations – to the table to assume the risk. It relies on defining real outcomes and using data and evidence to measure progress, and that means better programs and services in the long run.”

Some of the topics touched on at the Symposium centered on communities that have implemented Pay-for-Success and the leaders and champions within them who mustered local support and the political will to bring successful initiatives to fruition.

In addition, the Symposium focused on:

  • The promise of Pay-for-Success, giving communities a platform to scale up evidence-based practices
  • The high standard for tracking program outcomes, and
  • How to prepare providers and governments for the greater scrutiny of program results necessary to bring private investors to the table.

CSH and the Nonprofit Finance Fund would like to extend our gratitude to the Steering Committee Members who made the Symposium a reality with their guidance and financial support:

Chris Hubbard, California Community Foundation

Bill Pitkin and Andrea Iloulian, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Melody Head and John Moon, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Connie Malloy and Annelise Grimm, The James Irvine Foundation

Jessica LaBarbera and Jasson Crockett, Nonprofit Finance Fund

Belen Vargas, The Weingart Foundation

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